Top 5 Ways to Reduce Printing Costs

Reducing printing costs is a great way to not only save money, but to truly manage your printer fleet. Businesses are often hesitant to have someone come in with a managed print service offering, until it becomes so burdensome that they are forced to.

We understand the hesitancy, so we wanted to share some of our recommendations to reduce your printing costs, free of charge. These are the items we look at through our print management audits and managed print services.

Tip 1 – Implementing a system to measure your fleet

The first step is to implement a system to measure your existing fleet. At the very least, you should be able to easily view your inventory. This includes 

  • the location of your printers 
  • your monthly print volume
  • the cost of your printing (service and supplies) on a monthly basis 

Knowing the location of your printers gives you insight into how the devices are being used, and if they are the best devices for the jobs they are used for. Having the right device for the printing that is actually being done can save you money. 

Why pay to have a color copier cranking out black and white prints until it breaks?  Why not just use a black and white laser printer in that department? Understanding your usage will give you insight into the age of the devices, and how often they need repairs. 

Your monthly print volume gives you insight into what your overall print costs, and can be broken down by printer to see which devices are over or underused. Along with the step above, this can save you a lot of money, and let you know if printers need to be removed or if a restricted use policy needs to be implemented on some devices.

Knowing the cost of your printing on a monthly basis really brings your overall cost patterns into focus. It doesn’t do you any good if you only analyze it every 1-4 years. By then, things can spin out of control. The odds your paper usage today and in 4 years from now will be the same is almost 0%, especially with staff fluctuations. 

It is better if you are able to measure it regularly and even analyze printing by user, which involves another software. The benefit of this is that now you can control where the issue takes root; the individual users who are misusing printers according to the first two points. 

When it comes to managing a fleet, the invoice is often not itemized with these details. This creates a nightmare when trying to figure out the total costs and where unnecessary costs are coming from. Because of this, we have a program that puts the reports into Excel so you can quickly see all of the pertinent information regarding your fleet. This way, we can get to the issues and implement the strategy when it’s needed.

Tip 2 – Owning your device

The second is to own your device(s). If your average device can last eight years, you are doing good. Some will last longer, some will last less.That’s three to four years more than the lease term, which means you are using something while no longer paying for it. 

Tip 3 – Right-sizing your fleet

The third is to right-size your existing fleet. The right device in the right place makes a huge difference, as mentioned above, especially on the copier side. For example, you most likely do not need an A3, but you do need an A4, which is less expensive and actually faster than their counterparts.

Tip 4 – Eliminate unnecessary fax lines

If you fax, especially if you have a lot of fax lines but don’t fax that much, then it’s wasteful to use analog fax lines. Make sure you have some kind of fax override system in place.

Tip 5 – Incorporate follow me printing

Make sure you do some kind of “follow me printing”, or print anywhere. These not only make printing jobs more secure, but they also reduce the amount of printing that is done. Printing less here means less ink cartridges being used and less paper being printed. This is the fastest way to reduce average print costs by 15% or more. By implementing this rule, you will see a lot of unnecessary printing go away.

Follow me printing is done with print management software, so there is a cost to this software, and we see the biggest gains in savings when print is not well managed today.  If your team has already defaulted to duplex printing and not color printing every email, your percentage on savings will be lower than if you are using an inkjet printer at each desk with every document in color. If you are in the worst case version, you may see a 30% improvement with this one change. Not to mention the convenience of not being totally reliant on one laser printer or copier.

To learn more about our managed print services, and how we can help you get a better handle on your printing expenses, give us a call.